Rubber is so much more than just the material that your tires and gloves are…
Products made with custom molded rubber are all used in more ways than we could count. These products are used in industries such as the automotive industry, oil and gas, trucking, hospitals, and more. The food industry, manufacturing industry, and so many more also use plastic molded rubber parts. They play an important roll in many industries around the world.
There are different types of rubber products that can be manufactured as well as different ways to actually make the products. Compression molding, injection molding, and extrusion are the three most commons ways to extract rubber parts. The type of process utilized depends upon both the materials used and the intended application of the finished product.
Compression molding is the process of using pressure and heat to heat rubber that is contained within a mold. The mold is then filled with the rubber, which forms the product itself. Here is a simple representation of what might happen during a compression molding.
The purple material would be the rubber. The rubber will be compressed into the shape of the product whenever the top part of the mold is pressed upon the other. The type of material used will likely depend on the use of the product being made. The product will be extracted from the mold once the product has “cured” long enough. Curing is the equivalent of toughening or hardening.
Inject molding works in a similar way, although the mold is pre-formed.
Rubber will be heated and injected into the mold. As the rubber is injected, the mold will also be pressed to ensure that the rubber fills all parts of the mold without issue. The products that come from injection molding are usually perfectly shaped to fit the part needs. Once again, the product is cured and removed from the mold. In this image, the yellow part at the end of the line is the finished product.
Extrusion is a simpler form of product that can be made, as it’s usually a form of tubing that comes from this method. The rubber is pushed through a “die” which forms tube-like patterns. These tubes can fit various lengths and serve many purposes.
While there are a multitude of companies that manufacture custom molded rubber products, one company that stands out in the field of industrial products is MARK Tool & Rubber Company. Founded in 1954, MARK Tool has earned an excellent reputation in the field of downhole cutting tool service – including the development of SplashTRON® pipeline coating. From the oil & gas industry to valves, electrical, railroad and much more – MARK Tool is an industry leader in custom molded rubber products.